Storm water runoff can be a problem in some landscapes. Hilly terrain, in particular, can result in erosion and water pooling in unwelcome areas. Fortunately, there are some design tricks that you can implement that will minimize storm water issues while also creating a more interesting and appealing yard.
Berms and Swales
Berms are raised areas of soil, where as swales are sunken areas. You can use a combination of berms and swales to reroute storm water drainage away from the areas where it can pose an issue. For example, gentle berms around the house can route water away from your foundation and toward a well-drained swale or a swale ditch that leads to a storm water drain. Swales are often planted with marsh plants, like cattails, that can thrive in the wetter soil while still looking attractive.
Dry Creek Beds
A dry creek bed is a trench that is dug out then lined with decorative rocks and gravel. The trench usually meanders through the landscape along a known drainage route, and it is designed to look somewhat natural. Most of the time the bed is a dry decorative element, but during a storm water will flow through the creek and quickly drain into the gravel bottom. In areas with heavy runoff, a perforated drainage pipe is sometimes installed inside the creek bed to further help route water to a storm water drain.
A rain garden is often designed as a rock garden planted with flora that thrive in wet areas. Rain gardens work best in low lying areas that collect water and rarely dry out. The rock mulches help prevent muddy conditions on the surface, while the water-loving plants ensure the excess water goes to good use. Milkweeds, swamp mallow, and bee balms are just a few plants that can thrive in a rain garden.
In areas where planting isn't necessarily desired, such as walkways and patios, there are other methods for managing storm water. Permeable pavers allow moisture to seep through instead of sitting on top of the paving. The most common type of permeable paver consists of a grid with open centers. Grass or a durable groundcover can be planted in the openings to allow for drainage, but the pavers make the area safe to drive or walk on.
Work with a landscape design service to develop the best storm water runoff plan for your yard.